The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has upheld a lower court ruling that paper money is unfair to the blind because it’s all the same size and texture. Blind and vision impaired people need help to determine which bill is which denomination and the blind and vision impaired are at the mercy of the sighted who help them.
There is no such problem with coins because they are different sizes and pennies and nickels don’t have ridges on the sides, while dimes and quarters do, making it easy to tell which coin is which without the use of sight.
Judge Judith Rogers, in a ruling on a suit by the American Council of the Blind, wrote that the Treasury Department’s failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to the visually impaired violates the Rehabilitation Act’s guarantee of “meaningful access.”
The Rehabilitation Act was originally designed to extend civil rights to disabled individuals and provide them a full opportunity to participate in American society.
“We are very pleased with the ruling,” said a spokeswoman for the American Council of the Blind. “We are hopeful that the treasury department will now get busy and come up with a plan to make paper money more readily identifiable for the visually impaired people all over the world,” she added.
Suggested solutions include making bills different sizes, including raised markings or using foil printing which is tactically discernable [sic].
Maybe the Treasury Department should consider this model for a solution: